The best foods for women over 50 is based on the premise that women’s nutritional needs change at 50 and are different from men. An interesting article noticed that certain foods give women a health benefit by, “helping to prevent memory loss, hip fractures, breast and stomach cancers”(1). Five primary food categories have been identified as therapeutic.
Strawberries and Blueberries: The berry category is known to help prevent brain aging and memory loss especially if eaten daily. The article also mentions a Harvard study that found if older women eat two servings (1/2 cup each) of strawberries a week there is less inflammation in the blood. The study found that strawberries contain a number of key nutrients that play a role in taming inflammation, including fiber, folate, potassium and vitamin C.
Green Tea We know that teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant like matcha, white, green, and oolong teas have a long list of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Black and pu-erh teas have more caffeine and less of these polyphenols and catechins. Catechins are a potent anti-cancer antioxidant also found in cocoa, peaches and prune juice. Catechins rich foods have been shown to reduce cancerous tumors in skin, colon, liver, and mammary glands.
The article reports another study by the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center that involved the diets of 75,000 middle-aged women. “Women who drank green tea three times a week for more than six months had a 17 percent lower risk of all three digestive cancers combined.” For more details about green tea please see: http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/green-tea-update/
Dark, Leafy Greens This is more antioxidant food with the addition of vitamin K which is an important bone strengthener. Along with calcium, the combined effect helps prevent hip fractures when over 50 years of age. These leafy vegetables also help lower cholesterol, protect your eyes, and reduce colon cancer. The effect of vitamin K may also help to protect the skin’s elasticity while helping to prevent wrinkles.
Walnuts The article included walnuts for omega-3 fats. I was a bit surprised with this one since we know fish and flaxseed is much higher in omega-3 fatty acids. If there is a concern with mercury in fish, you can certainly use flaxseed oil or just supplement with krill oil, like I do. Nevertheless, walnuts and nuts in general are a healthy food with clear benefits. They mention, “Researchers speculate that walnuts carry many anti-cancer components that may be acting synergistically.” Salt free is the best way to go if you’re watching your blood pressure.
Red Wine/Alcohol This one is a bit of a surprise too since we know this benefits both genders. Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and takes pressure off the heart. The red grape contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that is known to prevent cell damage and cognitive decline. It contains quercetin, an antioxidant known to induce death to cancer cells. It also contains tannins, which give wine its color and may protect against heart disease. Some studies have correlated red wine consumption with longer life spans. The amount recommended for women is one to two glasses per day of any alcohol drink.
In conclusion, I find the recommendations here are sound and based on research. There are many ways to get your needed nutrients, so don’t feel confined to any one. If you are allergic to nuts, for example, just replace it with fish, krill oil or other foods high in omega-3. L. Johnson From: http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com
Callahan, M. 12/28/12. Fiftysomething Diet: The 5 Food Women Need to Eat Retrieved from: www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/diet-for-women_n_2371463.html